No Going Back

1 day to go until Wig Free Week.

Tomorrow I will leave the house without my wig, get on the tube without my wig, walk into the office without my wig and embrace my baldness in a way I have never done before in the almost ten years since I was diagnosed with alopecia.

It has been an incredible journey so far, and the journey hasn’t even begun yet. Only four weeks ago, I decided to open up and start talking about my alopecia, and I have been astounded and humbled by the reaction I have had since that moment.

The messages of support have been flooding in, not only from my close friends, colleagues and family, but from acquaintances, people I haven’t spoken to in years, school friends, teachers, friends of friends, and people I don’t know who have alopecia or have been touched by my story after seeing it in newspapers or on social media.  Over 200 people have donated to my campaign and I have raised over £5,500 so far.  It truly is amazing and I am so grateful that people care so much about this cause.

For the last couple of days the nerves have kicked in, and I have realised that this is the first time I have felt nervous since that first day when I started telling people four weeks ago.  I think I have just been so uplifted by the support, as well as distracted by all the planning and admin it has involved, and haven’t really had the chance to think properly about the challenge I am about to undertake.

But now that time has slipped away from me and there is only 1 day to go until I go wig-free, I am starting to freak out!  Taking my wig off in front of people does scare me, even though I don’t really understand why I find it so terrifying or what exactly I am scared of.  Is it of strangers judging me?  Of looking different to other people?  Or the emotional upheaval of leaving my comfort blanket behind and facing the world as I truly am for the first time?  I’m not sure, but for some reason I am crying as I write this.

But despite the fear, I know that I am doing the right thing.  From the moment that I started planning Wig Free Week I have never felt so inspired by a project in my life.  I have thrown myself into planning it with vigour, and been encouraged by the enthusiasm of the people who have got involved to help.

Friends have taken photographs, designed flyers, given me media contacts and advice, helped me set up my blog and had the patience to listen to me talk about barely anything else for the last couple of months!  And without their help it wouldn’t have been such a success so I am very grateful.

It feels like the right thing to do partly because it is for such a great cause.  Alopecia is a taboo topic and an under-researched condition which needs to be spoken about.  And the charity (AAR-UK) are doing a brilliant job of highlighting it and actually doing something practical to find out why it happens and what we can do about it.

But also it feels right on a personal level, because I have been carrying around the weight of my alopecia secret for far too long.  Keeping it a secret has taken an emotional toll on me, and stopped me from being honest with myself and the people around me.  Hopefully going wig-free will make me feel more content with my appearance and liberated because I no longer have something to hide.

Tomorrow I will go wig-free for a week.  Bring it on! 🙂

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